Get up and win the race
‘Quit, Give up, you’re beaten!’ they shout at me and plead.
‘There’s just too much against you now, this time you can’t succeed.’
And as I start to hang my head in front of failures face,
My downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
And hope refills my weakened will, as I recall that scene,
And just the thought of that short race rejuvenates my being.
A children’s race, young boys, young men, I remember well.
Excitement, sure, but also fear; it wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope, the thought to win that race.
Or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.
And fathers watched from off the side, each cheering for his son.
And each boy hoped to show his Dad, that he would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they went, young hearts and hopes afire
To win, to be the hero there, was each boy’s young desire.
And one boy in particular, his Dad was in the crowd,
Was running near the lead and thought. ‘My Dad will be so proud.’
But as he sped up down the field, across a shallow dip,
the little boy who thought to win, lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his hands flew out to brace,
Amid the laughter of the crowd, he fell flat on his face.
So, down he fell and with him hope, he couldn’t win it now.
Embarrassed, sad, he only wished to disappear somehow.
But, as he fell, his Dad stood up and showed his anxious face.
Which to the boy so clearly said, ‘Get up and win the race!’
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all,
And ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
His mind went faster than his legs, and he slipped and fell again.
He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace.
‘I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.’
But in the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face,
That steady look that said again, ‘Get up and win the race!’
So up he jumped to try again, ten yards behind the last,
‘If I’m to gain those yards,’ he thought, ‘I’ve got to run real fast.’
Exerting everything he had, he regained eight or ten
But trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.
‘Defeat!’ He lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye.
‘There’s no sense running any more, three strikes, I’m out, why try?’
The will to rise had disappeared, all hope had fled away,
So far behind, so error prone, a loser all the way.
‘I’ve lost so what’s the use?’ he thought, ‘I’ll live with my disgrace.’
But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.
‘With borrowed will get up’ he said. ‘You haven’t lost at all.
For winning is no more than this: to rise each time you fall.’
So he rose to run once more, and with a new commit,
He resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit,
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,
Still he gave it all he had and ran as though to win.
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.
They cheered the winning runner as he crossed the line, first place,
Head high and proud and happy; no falling, no disgrace.
But when the fallen youngster crossed the line, last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer for finishing the race,
And even though he came in last, with head bowed low, unproud,
You would have thought he won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, ‘I didn’t do so well.’
‘To me you won.’ His father said. ‘You rose each time you fell.’
So when your life seems dark and hard and difficult to face,
May the memory of that little boy help you in your race
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
‘Quit! Give up you’re beaten!’ they still shout in my face,
But another voice within me says, ‘Get up and win the race!’
-Author Unknown –